Saturday, April 12, 2008

Tonight in Minneapolis: Bon Iver, Fuck Buttons

Download: Bon Iver - "Skinny Love"
Download: Collections of Colonies of Bees - "Flocks III"

Bon Iver's music, like Elliot Smith before him, has the ability to make sadness and isolation sound transcendent. However, while the tragic Smith was in the center of a venn diagram containing Kurt Cobain, Alex Chilton, and George Harrison, Bon Iver's (the nom de folk of Wisconsin-based singer-songwriter Justin Vernon) work fits a more unexpectedly soulful profile. Vernon has admitted an affinity for African-American singers, and his newfound singing style, which bear a strong resemblance to TV On The Radio's Tunde Adebimpe, helps give his For Emma, Forever Ago its ghostly-folk chill.

The vocals on For Emma were part of a complete revamping of his artistic persona after break-ups with both his girlfriend and his band. Adding the fresh icing of insult to the cake of injury, Vernon also contracted a case of Mono so bad that he had to be held up in bed for three months. Naturally, something had to give. And so, Vernon made like a musical Thoreau and headed to his father's cabin that would eventually make up Emma. Those songs--ranging from the bittersweet, heartbreaking lament of "Skinny Love" to the achingly atmospheric post-folk slow-burn of "The Wolves (Acts I and II)"--caught the attention of pretty much any underground music fan with ears, and its popularity amongst web critics and music blogs led to a record deal with indie stable Jagjaguwar, a re-release of his originally self-released album, and a tour with labelmates Black Mountain.

Speaking of live shows, Vernon is on his own headlining tour right now, one that's seeing him play to packed houses around the US and A. Tonight is the first of his two sold-out shows at the Turf Club. Both shows are 21+, and if you've got tickets, count yourself lucky. Bon Iver's shows have been getting rave reviews. Collections Of Colonies Of Bees open.

Bon Iver MySpace Page
Collections Of Colonies Of Bees MySpace Page

Download: Fuck Buttons - "Sweet Love For Planet Earth"

Fuck Buttons are an experimental noise duo from the U.K. and one that has garnered heavy attention, much of it quite warranted, for their debut release Street Horrrsing. The group was formed in 2004 with the explicit goal of making listeners feel the burn of a noise workout, but slowly became more compelled with making more aesthetically pleasing noise.

Street is like hearing a futuristic version of Wallace Hartley's band from the Titanic playing their last song as their boat of doom crashes into a star on the verge of a supernova, rather than an iceberg. Which is to say, the music of Fuck Buttons is, at times, ethereal, nightmarish, and disturbing, but with a compelling beauty that makes sense only in its own world.

There are only six songs on Horrrsing, but each one segues into the other, so the best way to experience the album is by yourself, in a dark room totally immersing yourself into the soundscapes. Fuck Buttons, like most noise or ambient musuc, rely on minimalist, repetitive loops to provide the template to their sonic experiments. That might sound like a tedious proposition, but the album never grows tiresome, due to the fact that the duo keep us on the edge of our seat with the thrilling anticipation of what white-noise glory resides around the corner.

If IMAX ever decides to extend an invite to score a documentary on German Expressionism, Fuck Buttons will have gotten themselves of a gig for life.

Fuck Buttons opens for Caribou tonight for a 21+ show at the Triple Rock Social Club. The doors open at 9 p.m. and tickets are $15.

Also tonight:

Download: Mel Gibson and the Pants - "Don't Stop Drop and Roll"

Mel Gibson and the Pants at the Bedlam Theater after party.

Download: Elf Power - "Spiral Stairs"

Elf Power at the 400 Bar.

Download: First Communion Afterparty - "Bait Upon The Drum"

First Communion Afterparty at Stasiu's.

(Jonathan Graef)



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